US Open day nine: Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem in marathon match

US Open day nine: Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem in marathon match

Defending champion Rafa Nadal failed to win a single game in the opening set of his U.S. Open quarter-final against Dominic Thiem on Tuesday but fought back to beat the Austrian 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7 (4) 7-6 (5) in a match that ended after 2 a.m.in NY.

It was a 4:49 marathon that wasn't decided until Nadal secured a 7-5 tiebreak in the fifth set that left both players exhausted, but only one satisfied.

Nadal will now face the third-seeded Juan Martin del Potro in the semifinals.

Rafael Nadal acknowledged he was fortunate to claim a thrilling US Open quarter-final victory over Dominic Thiem, who he conceded did everything possible to claim victory.

Under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium, Nadal and Thiem delivered the NY crowd another memorable marathon, this time for a spot in the US Open semifinals.

Thiem is looking to reach the semi-finals, having reached his first last-eight match outside of the French Open as Nadal seeks a fourth title at Flushing Meadows. "He will have his chances in the future without a doubt", Nadal said.

This was only the fourth time in 282 career Grand Slam matches that Nadal has been bagelled in a set - on the three previous occasions, he lost. The fourth was an 81-minute rollercoaster ride, where Nadal came within two points of winning only for Thiem to take the tie-break.

This story was first published on CNN.com, "Rafael Nadal outlasts Thiem in 5-set US Open thriller". "I mean, he's a great guy".

Twenty-four hours after Roger Federer fell to John Millman, his old rival avoided following him out of the tournament, but only just, completing a 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7 (4/7) 7-6 (7/5) victory at 2.03am. "Not insane, but tough", Nadal said.




Nadal recovered from being broken as he served for the second set in the ninth game with an immediate break back to level the contest.

The defending champion has been severely tested in each of his last three matches, with Karen Khachanov and Nikoloz Basilashvili also taking a set off him, but the 32-year-old remains one of the greatest fighters in sporting history and he overcame another major hurdle.

"Being honest I am just very, very sorry for Dominic".

"He's young, he has plenty of time to win big tournaments". It was a question of a little bit of luck at the end.

There were no breaks of serve in the deciding set and a second tiebreak ensued.

"Forever I'm going to remember this match, for sure", Thiem said. I think we nearly all the time have great matches.

But as he showed against Thiem, no one is better with his back against the wall than Nadal.

By virtue of losing the opening set against John Isner, Del Potro ensured the US Open will remain the only grand slam in the Open era where no man has won the singles title without dropping a set.

Nadal holds an 11-5 record against Del Potro.

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